25 thoughts on “Roland TR-8S Hands-On Demos

  1. Looks pretty uninspiring as a drum machine. If the appeal of these drums machines are the sounds of the 80’s, why not add more control over the sounds since your pretty much stuck with tune and decay.

    Again, I just don’t get the appeal and the amount of “hey another 808/909 box” when samplers exist.

    1. Each channel has a third knob that allows you to further modulate additional parameters. The TR-8S holds many many kits than the two you mentioned as well as the ability to import your own samples and to create your own custom kits to your liking.

      I know this isn’t anything new, and it’s pretty well known amongst us all but….Jesus christ…the level of cynicism and sense of entitlement found in the comments on this blog are…impressive. I say impressive because it takes time and a real dedication to be so butthurt and disappointed about literally anything that ever comes out. I also find it laughable, considering that I’d wager over 80% of people here enjoy synths as a fun hobby, a past time…but so many of these comments sound like people who are toiling away at this magnum opus! this most epic of all albums that will literally CHANGE THE WOOOORLD!…But they just need this one…last…piece…of gear to successfully complete this epic performance, but nobody can make it exactly how i want!! waahh lol. so pretentious….SAD!

      1. Sounds like your the one who is having trouble with your last track.. lol

        Anyways, I agree, it needs a little bit of a sound upgrade as to my ears it sounds very dated for such a new machine too.

      2. everyone has the right to have an opinion.
        I agree with you that this is a cool machine and if i have the money will be getting it.
        BUT really have a problem about people that rant about every other rant.. whats the point?
        so if i get it right i will only be able to dislike some product if i am in the process of “making the greatest album of all the time”? i enjoy synths as a fun hobbie so i will have to love everything that comes out?
        i like forums where people defend the products they love and criticize the ones they dont… and have learn much about the products listening both sides..
        this kind of thinking always end on… you dont like a product …pretentious… you like a product.. fan boy
        cheers everyone

      3. You nailed it, shoopydoopdoop. It’s either a complaint about price of a complaint about features. It could be a Moog Whosahmahat drum machine/sampler/synth/washing machine combo able to toggle between analog and digital, make pancakes, full size AND mini keys with a Phil Collins feature where a little Phil lives inside it able to give you advice on your album at any given time with the touch of a velocity sensitive button for $19.99 and people would still complain. “But… it’s Phil Collins! He hasn’t had an album since 2010’s Going Back! Why didn’t they get Drake?” It’s the age we live in. Most don’t realize how lucky we are.

      4. Your comment is so true its painful. Products on this site are automatically shot down if not analog, too expensive (generally above £500), don’t offer every feature from every similar product ever made or not made or is not made by elektron.

      5. I agree, theres a lot of negativity in synthtopia comments. People find an angle to criticize anything, often things that arent even released yet.

    2. People can freak out because “ACB is digital” but the benefit over samples is that the circuits model the analog behavior of the x0x kits. Lowering the volume on a snare for example isn’t just making it softer, but also less punchy than when it is at max, just like the original machines. Of course a sample library can try to mimic this with layers but still, there is a difference for those who ride the faders.

      You’re also not stuck with tune and decay as there is an assignable control knob, which can be anything from filters to effects params. Hopefully Roland updates the software over time to allow multiple assignments instead of one per instrument but still, a lot of power especially since changes to that knob can be sequenced.

      It’s funny you say the appeal of the drum machines are the “sounds of the 80s” when they are constantly still used all over the place on pop/rap/hip hop tracks. Layered in but that’s the point of the sample player portion of the TR-8S. Big producers still depend on these instruments as part of their workflow.

      1. Thats a good point, layering those kits with samples. As far as hip hop/rap, I still dont know whats going on there, they are going nuts with the trap kits and its all emulation vs creative use of the kit. Again, this is only from my viewport but when I hear tracks that use an entire kit of field recordings or break beat chops, then you hear the other side which is the same kick drum, same clap and same hi hats, pretty much same rhythm, Thats where I call shennagins and try to better understand it. Thats all.

        Whether its because an 808 kick is so awesome that everyone knows something I dont, or is the percussion just an afterthought or more like a rhythm track to most of the productions that use those kits.

        I’m fine being the douchebag here, but this would be the only place to get an honest answer, what is the appeal of those classic kits? Is it like playing super mario bros on nintendo in 2018, nostalgia, or can you ignore the entire sonic palette of percussion instruments and just make multiple albums with just 3-5 kits and limited control over the variations. Like, your kick can thump or punch and the pitch can go up, or down.

  2. message to engineers at hamamatsu: dear roland people, please come up with a revised version of the jx-305, the mc-909 or the mc-808, a combination of the jd-xi and the tr-8s. currently the tr-8s lacks synth sounds, a multitrack sequencer and keys. without all of these functions, the tr8s is useless – at least to me. please make “the return of the groovebox” your new priority. thank you.

  3. message to engineers at hamamatsu hq: dear roland people, please come up with an upgraded version of the jx-305, the mc-909 or the mc-808 – a combination of the jd-xi and the tr-8s. currently the tr-8s lacks synth sounds, a multitrack sequencer and keys. without all of these specs, the tr8s is useless.. well, at least to me. please make “the return of the groovebox” your new priority. look at inmusic/akai. their mpc live is the new groovebox goldstandard, due to the fact that it works standalone. please come up with an mc-909 ultra. thank you.

    1. The JX-305 is more usefully than just as a midi controller today IMO. It´s synth engine is derived from the JV-2080 synth and is programmable.

  4. I don’t understand how people can complain about this… I didn’t buy the TR-8, but I do think it was great when consider how few drum machines are available that can compare to it. With this Roland has at least doubled the functionality of the old model, AND made it look better and smaller.

    The sound is not new… that’s not the point. The sound is very good and the utility of this is thing is awesome. Samples and analog sounding drums from the same box? For $600, or whatever it is? That’s awesome. You can have a dynamic source of percussion and samples all from one box, add a couple synths and guitar pedals and you’re set.

    1. > I don’t understand how people can complain about this
      i want a fully standalone groovebox from roland. not a dozen aira products that have to be synced altogether in order to programme official-sounding songs. this whole idea of “performance”-oriented gear is utter crap imo. let´s face it: how many people who purchase roland stuff actually perform in front of an audience apart from their (step)mother?? i only care about “production”!! this is why i like the mpc live and its concept. now, i want a similar product from roland (or korg, or yamaha.)

      1. 1) It is standalone, you don’t need a computer or other Aira products to function.

        2) plenty of live artists, techno DJ’s and so forth use this as live performance machine playing in front of 1000’s.

        Do your research and stop bashing because it doesn’t suit your workflow

        1. you don´t know what a groovebox is. roland invented that term. a groovebox has – at least – a drum section, a synth section, and a sequencer section. some grooveboxes have a sampler section, too. i don´t want different modules for different tasks.

      2. Grooveboxes are pretty performance oriented too, aren’t they? Electronic music will only get more performative if the tools don’t get more performance friendly. It’s not exactly a breeze yet.
        And performance-orientation is helpful in the studio. It helps with collaboration and spontaneity. Of course, it varies from person to person how helpful that is, but I don’t think it’s utter crap in theory. In practice, I think a lot of it ends up being marketing speak.

        I think the biggest problem with grooveboxes is that they’re fundamentally dealing with way more trade-offs than dedicated gear and that’s super hard to get that right. What’s the right balance of versatility, flexibility and control? It’s a big challenge. That doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done though — good new grooveboxes would be very exciting.

  5. > I don’t understand how people can complain about this
    i want a fully standalone groovebox from roland. not a dozen aira products that have to be synced altogether in order to programme official-sounding songs. this whole idea of “performance” is utter crap. how many people who purchase roland stuff actually perform in front of an audience?? i only care about “production”!! this is why i like the mpc live and its concept. now, i want a similar product from roland (or korg, or yamaha.)

  6. OK, so that shows that if you move move more than a few faders at once, the entire timing goes bad.

    For people who don’t automate parameters or twist knobs that’s not a problem.

    For those of us that do this machine is literally unusable. That’s a problem.

    That’s not whining or complaining. That’s noting a severe design flaw that makes the machine unusable in practice for its major use case: of allowing direct manipulation and recording of parameters.

  7. Two more iterations of this and it would be start to challenge sequencer/sample mashing market for boxes like Elektron. I get it that this is more live performance oriented.

    1. Thats my point! These companies are releasing seeds for the birds, but some of us tasted steak and now we want more steak! Grant it, they will probably sell a million of these given the mega-thumbs up from this group but I really think if the price was 100 bucks more, this thread would be having a different discussion.

      Prices matter just like black lives but with an honest evaluation of this single piece of gear, its meh and im sure people will own/sell it even though this thread makes it sound like they are getting more than just a standard drum machine with an extra knob and a few effects and the same motion recording from a $150.00 volca and the same sample uploading as a $150.00 volca and the same sample/kit manipulation as another $150.00 volca.

      The volca’s came out years ago so my point is that its not insane to expect more from Roland when they are asking for 700 bucks.

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